by Marco Smith ©2017

What does he mean? The man who’s name I don’t recall at present; I’ll call him Henchman Number Two, has described this particular implement as ‘more betterer’ than the one I had elected to use. Despite his poor English skills, I of course managed to understand the point he meant was that this one was better than that one. The question remains however, in what way does he believe it to be better?
I picked up the proffered tool for a closer inspection of the most impressive engineering. In the mirror-like surface of the highly polished stainless steel, the distorted reflection of the dim basement lighting could be seen gently swinging behind my head. Each time the diminishing arc approached stillness the rumble of a passing train would set it in motion once again. The handle felt good in my hand. A well-developed shape to give a comfortable sure grip. Just the thing for such a dangerous instrument. The lightweight body was perfectly balanced and very professional, as though it was a tactile extension of my arm. One obvious point which stood out to me was the sawtooth pattern of a design I hadn’t encountered before. An image flashed into my mind of the efficient ferocity contained within the mouth of a Great White Shark. I began to wonder about my first impression of Number Two. Maybe the knowledge trapped inside him far surpassed the level he was able to express. A muffled protest from the subject brought me back into the room.

‘I’m sorry, but I can’t at present recall your name?’

‘Me name be Jed, sir,’ offered Number Two.

‘Of course! I remember now. My apologies, Jed. May I ask what it is about this which makes you think it is better than the one I chose?’

‘Err, it be makin’ ‘im scream more. Makes yer skin crawl it does.’ Replied Jed.

‘I see, well let’s put it to the test, shall we?’ I said, motioning for Jed to join me at the table.

The table has an all stainless steel construction, incorporating an all round channel for the collection and disposal of bodily fluids. A standard item that you might find employed by a pathologist in your local morgue. With one exception: this one has restraints. Taken from a psychiatric ward bed, the restraints prevent the subject from flailing around in a desperate attempt to escape. The subject remains held firmly in place by the strong leather construction, regardless of duration or ferocity of the struggle. 

‘The information given to me, Jed, is that Mr. Shaw here has been very uncooperative indeed, so far. Despite your best efforts we still don’t have the location of the key. This is the reason why our employer has called me in, as I posses significant expertise in information extraction. Having said that, your opinion has me intrigued, and I am quite open to the possibility of there being some truth in what you say. Although, I am seldom wrong.’

A rattle and creaking of leather accompanied by muffled cries gave an indication that Mr. Shaw obviously didn’t approve of our conversation.

‘It’s a shame there isn’t such an invention as a “Screamometer”, it would certainly take the subjectiveness out of play,’ I joked. Either my joke was in bad taste, or Jed was too simple to understand, because his dull stare remained unaltered.

‘Let’s begin, shall we?’ I announced.

Next to the table on the instrument tray lay the two surgical saws. I elected to first use my own tried and trusted saw. Admittedly, the teeth appeared to be far less intimidating than those protruding from Jed’s fearsome blade. The subject caught sight of it and began to struggle with a renewed vigour. Terror does incredible things to a man. This man had already felt the steely bite from the hand of Jed, but the sight of my blade added something new to his eyes. 

I laid the tips of my saw against the sweating and shaking skin of Mr. Shaw. His forehead to be precise: an area of extreme sensitivity to pain. Drawing it backwards in a slow drawn-out stroke released a terrible muffled scream from the resistant fool. Duck tape really does an excellent job when placed over somebody’s mouth. It’s much akin to a trumpet mute. Although, the notes produced by this horn were drastically out of tune.

As I reached for the Blade of Jed, the sudden realisation of my preoccupation with this comparison game hit me like a bucket of cold water to the face. I had forgotten the whole purpose of this torturous event and neglected to even ask the poor Mr. Shaw one single question. To interrupt the flow of my experiment now would be sure to affect the result, better just carry on, I thought.

Again the feel of Jed’s saw was sublime in my hand: I began to covet it. I laid the shark tooth like tangs upon his head and slowly drew it towards me. The coarseness caused blood to spurt in misty clouds as though peeling a ripened tangerine. A truly blood curdling scream ventured forth from behind the taped mute. 

‘Well I’ll be damned!’ I exclaimed, to both Jed’s and my surprise. ‘I stand corrected, my dear Jed. I do agree: this beautiful steel is indeed more betterer!’

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